Christian women are taught to wait for EVERYTHING. Because most of us wait for men to initiate relationships, and for men to propose, and then until marriage to have sex, we can end up believing the injurious myth that our lives should be on hold until we get married. Not having sex until marriage has somehow morphed into not buying property, not using good dishes or champagne flutes, not getting pets, even not traveling!
If you’re a Christian, wait for marriage to have sex, of course!
(I wrote about that decision here: https://racheljdaniel.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/sex-dating-and-the-single-christian-woman/)
But live the life God has for you in the meantime. Dream big, live boldly. If you want to travel, buy a house, get a pet, buy a brand new BMW, some diamonds, (and it’s cool with God), then go ahead and do that. Don’t worry so much about who you’re going to marry that you don’t live a life you truly enjoy.
The narrative that marriage automatically equals happiness is destructive for everyone. Learning to have a healthy relationship with the Lord, and to find joy in Him alone is important, regardless of marital status.
Unfortunately, some Christians are really, really into making sure every single person gets married. Women in Christian communities get TERRIBLE advice. Some Christians advised me not to get a PhD. They didn’t think anyone would want to marry me, an overeducated black woman.
Melissa Perry Harris–phenomenal scholar, black woman, married.
Zadie Smith, exceptional writer and professor, with her husband.
This doesn’t even need a caption. President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama were both educated at Harvard Law.
These well-meaning fellow Christians ignored the fact that God actually wanted me to go to graduate school. In other words, they wanted me to sacrifice God’s will and one of my dreams just so that I could have a better chance at getting married.
Thankfully, I have really supportive parents, and other people in my community (Christian and non-Christian alike) who encouraged me to get my degree, and pray for me to get married. I live a life I always dreamed of: I spend quality time with the Lord and my friends. I travel, think about important ideas, read books, write, and teach. I am so full of joy, I can’t even stand it. Every day is an adventure of my own making.
So I’m waiting until marriage to have sex. But every other desire or dream I have can be fulfilled right now. If I want to have children, there is nothing stopping me from signing up to babysit, or to be a part of the big sister program. I can always host a lovely dinner for my friends–with or without a boyfriend to cohost. There is nothing stopping me from being more financially stable. There is nothing stopping me from decorating my home well, buying myself flowers, or taking myself out to dinner. I can create whatever life I would like to live–as long as it pleases the Lord.
There is so much freedom in that. There is freedom in living for Him, and not for anyone else.